Equal Rights Center
We’ve been advancing civil rights for more than 30 years. Help us protect them for the future. Find out how >>

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Our Programs

The ERC employs a multi-faceted approach to promote civil rights.  By utilizing a comprehensive approach, and providing services to community members, the non-profit community,  the corporate sector, and government agencies, we create lasting positive change. 

Communications and Outreach

The ERC offers “Know Your Rights” workshops to community groups, and civil rights training to advocates and government officials. These workshops explain civil rights law, give examples of individuals’ rights under the law, teach self-advocacy, and offer the ERC as a resource when discrimination occurs. If you would like to arrange a workshop or training, contact Ayris Scales, the ERC Director of External Affairs, or call 202.370.3207.

Corporate Partnerships and Training

The ERC's Corporate Partnerships and Training Program relies on a unique, collaborative approach to assist and guide the private sector in maintaining compliance with a variety of civil rights laws. Through relationships with housing developers, retailers, restaurateurs, and other corporate leaders, the ERC promotes equal access and opportunity for all as a corporate culture, and demonstrates that focusing on civil rights is not only the right thing to do, it's also smart business. The CPT program develops training curricula, provides “best practices” guidance, and evaluates for compliance with civil rights law through testing. For more information about CPT Program services, contact Victoria Lanteigne, Program Manager for Corporate Partnerships & Training, or call 202.234.3062.

Disability Rights

The right of all people with disabilities to have equal access in all aspects of their lives is the driving force behind the ERC’s Disability Rights Program (DRP).The ERC takes a multifaceted approach to protecting the civil rights of the disability community on a cross-disability basis, with a goal of assuring that 57 million people with disabilities in the U.S. have the same choices and opportunities that people without disabilities enjoy every day.

Fair Employment

In 1999, the Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington joined the ERC, and our Fair Employment Program was born. Since then, the ERC has been a stalwart defender of employment rights—assisting victims of workplace discrimination and conducting broad scope testing investigations focused on both internet and in-person hiring practices.

Fair Housing

As the ERC’s oldest program area, the Fair Housing Program is at the forefront of addressing housing discrimination. To address barriers to equal housing opportunity, the Fair Housing Program conducts education and outreach, individual and systemic investigations, and advocates on behalf of its members and others who have experienced housing discrimination.

Immigrant Rights

By identifying and advancing civil rights for immigrant communities in housing, employment, public accommodations, government services the ERC has become a trusted voice for immigrants. The ERC’s Immigrant Rights Program conducts extensive outreach in a variety of languages to educate immigrant groups on their civil rights, conducts testing investigations to identify discrimination based on national origin, and works with local and federal partners to promote equality for all.

LGBT Rights

As the groundswell to recognize and expand the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals continues to grow, the ERC’s work continues to evolve. Collaborating with LGBT advocates and individuals, the ERC is conducting cutting edge testing investigations to identify and highlight discrimination against the LGBT community.

Testing and Special Programs

The ERC’s extensive civil rights testing expertise is integral to its investigative efforts and distinguishes the ERC from other civil rights organizations. Advocates and community members often alert the ERC to problems they see among their communities, such as an apartment complex which will not rent to Latinos or a restaurant which is not accessible to patrons with disabilities. With this information, the ERC is able to investigate the complaint, utilizing testing. Testing allows the ERC to quantitatively document rates of discrimination, which can be used to create real and positive change. Learn more about becoming a Civil Rights Tester.

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